Across Iron Age Europe the human head carried symbolic associations with power, fertility status, gender, and more. Evidence for the removal, curation and display of heads ranges from classical literary references to iconography and skeletal remains. Traditionally, this material has been associated with a Europe-wide 'head-cult', and used to support the idea of a unified Celtic culture in prehistory. This book demonstrates instead how headhunting and head-veneration were practised across a range of diverse and fragmented Iron Age societies. Using case studies from France, Britain and elsewhere, it explores the complex and subtle relationships between power, religion, warfare and violence in Iron Age Europe.Read more
- Offers significant new interpretations of the evidence for headhunting, head veneration and attitudes to the human body in Iron Age Europe
- Examines the archaeological realities behind the 'Celtic cult of the head'
- Presents detailed contextual studies of the literary, archaeological and iconographic evidence
Reviews & endorsements
'… carefully crafted and theoretically situated … this book is a tour de force … I would recommend [it] to anyone interested in ancient European cosmology, ritual, power, and identity.' Miranda Aldhouse-Green, European Journal of Archaeology
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- Date Published: May 2012
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521877565
- length: 272 pages
- dimensions: 259 x 184 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.62kg
- contains: 76 b/w illus. 6 maps 5 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Detached fragments of humanity
2. A remarkable spiritual continuity?
3. Shamans on the march
4. Pillars, heads, and corn
5. Neither this world, nor the next
6. From the dead to the living
7. Gods and monsters
8. Bodies of belief.
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